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INTRODUCTORY  ESSAY.                                  119
east parts receive but little rain, which is all deposited on the
intervening heights; the belt of low land in the south is, on
the contrary, abundantly moist at the same season. During
the north-east (or winter) monsoon, the rain-fall on the moun-
tains, though considerable, is less than during summer, this
wind being cooler and having less capacity for moisture; but
showers occur at this season throughout the northern parts of
the island. During winter, heavy rain falls along the south-
ern coast.
The difference in climate presented by the various parts of
Ceylon is hence very great. In the mountainous districts,
where every wind is a moisture-laden sea-wind, it is tempe-
rate, equable, and humid throughout the year. The southern
parts experience the moist tropical heats of an almost equa-
torial climate, and this at a season when the north coasts are
scorched with dry heat. The mean temperature of Trinco-
raali hence rises to 81 %°; and its climate is so dry, that when
Mr. Grardner visited it, he found there had been no rain for
nine months,—both anomalous conditions, when the proximity
of the ocean is considered. Kandy, again, in the centre of
the island, which is only 1800 feet above the sea, and is situ-
ated in a mountain valley, has a mean temperature of about
73°, and that of Newera Ellia, elevated 7000 feet, is probably
about 60°.
The coast of Ceylon is generally fringed with a belt of
Cocoa-nuts, which vegetate luxuriantly in the sandy soil of
the sea-shore* In the estuaries, mangroves (BMzophora) in-
habit the muddy swamps, accompanied with Heritiera, Son~
neratift, Lummtzem, Avicennia, and Sc&vola, but none of the
Phcemv paludosu and Nipa fruticans, so characteristic of the
In the drier flat parts of the island, extensive sandy plains
covered >vitli short grass alternate with undulating downs,
either bare or clothed with dense thickets of thorny shrubs.
The plants of these parts are generally those of ttc Carnatic,
the climate being the